Cambodia Travel and Facts

The journey opens the view for plenty of interesting things to do, to see and to visit.

Today just take Air Asia in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur or by Tiger Airways at Changi Airport in Singapore and have fun with great holidays. Several border crossings, 2 airports and a deep sea port in Sihanoukville are the gateway to the country from Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. In general Cambodia holiday can be cheap holiday no matter where you go. 

One tip about "low-cost hotels", try guesthouses, the reason is they pay lower taxes than the first ones. That mean lower prices, so many keep the designation but offer just the same as a normal hotel. 

The destination is also served by some other airlines such as Silk Air and Bangkok Airways but just forget them they are relatively very expensive. Example Air Asia charges for the Bangkok Phnom Penh flight Baht 1500,- Bangkok Airways pulls Baht 4500,- etc. got the message ? The Siem Reap flight means travel to Angkor

Cambodia flight destination is Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh Airport >

Currency is the Riel.


The country has a rather strange currency which is fixed to the US Dollar at a rate of 4 Riel to one $. It is absolute common to pay in $, but it needs some small money for little things in the countryside and you are expected to take small bills back as change when paying in dollars. Finally that means no need to change money just take small $ bills with you, Riel banknotes you will get automatically and everyone expects the "green buck" from you anyway.

To have the Riel fixed to the US currency makes sense since it keeps inflation under control. In general Cambodia is still a rather cheap country and ideal when you want pleasant tropical holidays on a lower budget.

Tropical Climate.


It's a tropical one were the temperature moves very rarely below 20 degree centigrade and it follows the monsoon pattern. That means rain from May to October and dry the other time. It is really such simple only sometimes clouds come in over the South China Sea and offload their wet freight over the hill-ranges such as the Cardamon Mountains. 

More about the weather >

Cambodian culture is mainly "Khmer Culture".


The recent times has no much to do with culture, rather with horror and you better leave the people alone to warm up the horror stories. They already had enough and most people dont want to be remind to the dread of the recent past. 

Khmer Culture >

Travel around by bus.


PP to Bangkok >  Koh Kong to PP >  PP to Siem Reap >  

A typical travel route (90% of the visitors are tourists) could be from Singapore or Bangkok, do some advance booking via the internet and land at the Capital, Angkor or the beaches in the south around Sihanoukville.

Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok

Mo Chit Bus Terminal >

Now the overland route via Bangkok and Trat in Thailand.

Start is at Mo Chit bus station from there you have 3 possibilities for travel to the Cambodian border at Aranyapradet. 

Bus counter for Cambodia
First is take the direct bus to Siem Reap (means one vehicle all way through they will guide you through at the border). 

Second is take the bus south to Trat (also starts at Mo Chit but at a different counter) / Koh Chang and after to Koh Kong. 


From Bangkok to Trat is about 6 hours drive and from there to the boundary 1.30 hours. The Minibus from "Trat terminal" leaves every 30 minutes. 

Bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap

immigration counter at Aranyapradet for Siem Reap and Phnom Penh

For Phnom Penh it needs to change the bus at the border anyway, it's about 12 to 14 hours.

Even if you want to travel direct to lets say the capital it's worth to make this little detour through the south, why? The roads to Siem Reap > and PP have again degraded to a disaster level (2015), about a third of the distance on both ways are only dirt roads. Now when using a bus to Trat and after to Koh Kong a good road is available throughout. 

Khmer people > at the border offer to process your passport, let them do it, give them hundred Baht sit down and relax. After a while they will come and ask you to pay the visa, now the cheating starts. The immigration guy will ask you either $ 30,- or around one thousand Baht but the regular fee is $ 20,- they will argue you didn't give them two photos if you didn't you have lost. If you want to pay with Baht it's ok either but then it's 1000,- anyway. For this you get a one month tourist visa / single entry. 


Also at this crossing are much less people, after you are through take a motorbike taxi for around Bahr 100,- and move on. You can stay overnight in Koh Kong City ( they have enough good hotels) and the next morning take the bus to Phnom Penh >, talk to the hotel people about the ticket they have it available at the reception. Since the price is written on it there is not much cheating possible. The border opens at 7 am and closes at 8 pm.

Cheap Cambodia holiday by bus to Phnom Penh

Using the bus means cheap Cambodia holiday.


When taking the coach the real problem are the roads outside the big cities, they are real bad, not all but most. Although this is cheap travel it could be better, they are not good at all, most are on a dirt road level (beginning of 2015) although the country is developing quick there are plenty of negative sides.


On the road from the Thai border always flat


Even traveling from the Thai border to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is a real disaster by road, actually a government who is such negligent on even the most basics infrastructure is definitely not worth to be called a government. On the other hand donor countries are helping with millions of dollars and the UN and NGO people are are around always with the biggest and most luxurious SUV. Is there money misused?   

Cambodia rivers

Most interior is flat and plenty of rivers and streams supply an abundance of water which sometimes runs almost dry. 


Here are Angkor Wat tours >


Welcome to a Angkor Wat tour the guide is waiting
Welcome to Siem Reap by the apsaras
Baray at Angkor Wat

To counter that the old Khmer built canals and storage systems, the most prominent are the Barays of Angkor > from where the old Khmer received most water during the dry season. 

crossing the Mekong over rapids

The Mekong river > is the main water source moves in from the north-west, traverses the flat plains and empty into the sea via a large delta in Vietnam. On the picture above people cross the turbulent water over a home made rope bridge.

Sre Ambel in Cardamon Mountains

 
Sre Ambel in the Cardamon Mountains >


Sokha Beach at Sihanoukville and some activities

Sokha Beach at Sihanoukville >

Ochheuteal Beach Fun

Ochheuteal Beach >

Cambodia is a great destination in East Asia where cheap holidays are still available for both purpose which are culture oriented and also with beautiful beaches.

Bokor National Park

One of the best day trip around is to Bokor National Park

it needs to be in good condition since the trek up there is rough and steep but the reward is worth it, don't do this with slippers! It seems that all this is still under military control, we even had a soldier with a machine gun with us (2013). There is great nature waiting and a incredible panorama over the coast and ocean from the burned ruins of the casino at the top of the hill.


national park trekking at Bokor
National park trekking at Bokor

trekking at Bokor Mountain and protection

Bokor National Park Tour at the Casino


bokor national park waterfall

waterfall pool at bokor
Waterfall pool at Bokor

The national park is in Kampot, 


Kampot Coast
Kampot Coast
there is tree and bamboo jungle, great waterfalls and some scenery out of a horror movie. In the wilds of southern Cambodia it's a real highlight, a nature perspective in a totally different direction as Angkor Wat. 

Bokor should be on any travel plan when visiting the country, its only a few hour with the bus from Phnom Penh over a good road to Kampot. Tours are available every day, just talk with the hotel they arrange everything.

Bokor Hill Station
Bokor Hill Station
A bit to the west is Sihanoukville and from there the bus is waiting to Koh Kong with more great nature that's travel with a different twist, no ruins, no temples, just waterfalls, wilderness, rivers and ideal for dirt biking, trekking and dirt bike tours can be made up to the Bokor Hill Station and around.

A young man is our tour guide for the trek at the Bokor National Park in Kampot, the idea is to trek up the mountain to the hill station.

The whole road from Kampot


Up at the hill station casino
up and down Bokor mountain is under permanent construction which is a difficult undertaking considering the terrain, before it was only a dirt road. 

The basic road into the park is already finished and also the asphalt cover is done but the trekking group climb down from the back of the truck and off we go into the quiet forest, the truck will move on without us and wait a couple of kilometers further up at the meeting point we will reach in about 2 hours. 

Trekking tourism in Cambodia
This is a constant climbing and the trail is over slippery earth, limestone boulders, through the bamboo jungle and plenty of other lush tropical jungle. 

The thickets are very dense from time to time which makes the walk difficult on top of it there are constantly sharp broken bamboo pieces popping out from the earth i guess everyone can imaging what happen when losing balance and fall into this bamboo spears, means good shoes are mandatory and some gloves will avoid cuts.

Cambodia trekking

Beside of this there is "Dirt Bike Adventure", 

considering the bad condition of the roads or often no road
Dirt Bike Adventure
Dirt Bike Adventure
at all, but a small trail dirt bike tours make sense, read more.

Misty view of the coast,


looking down from the plateau to the southern coast is a breathtaking experience. The best viewpoint is behind the blackened walls of the Palace Hotel and Casino. It is possible to book accommodations at the hill station at the Ranger HQ.

Casino playground of French colonialists
Casino playground of 
French colonialists
Once the playground of French colonialists, later occupied by Vietnamese soldiers, the walls of this grand structure are now a mosaic bullet holes and graffiti.